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Progress 2012 SECTION I_Progress 2010 SECTION A 6/29/12 8:21 AM Page 1

2012

PUBLIC EDUCATION — SECTION I MONdAy, MARCH 26

PROGRESS

A SPECIAL SECTION OF THE MINING JOURNAL ALSO INSIDE

Gwinn High School health clinic Funded by 5-year renewable grant

PAGE 2I

North Star Academy Expanding

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Graveraet fountain Restoration work completed last year

Marquette Area Public Schools Has a newly appointed superintendent PAGE 4I

Safe Routes to school Ishpeming and Negaunee students have safe school routes PAGE 5I

Gwinn Area Schools district Implements new netbook program PAGE 6I

Gwinn Area Community Schools By JACKIE STARK Journal Staff Writer MARQUETTE — Work on the restoration of the Graveraet School Fountain and Courtyard, located on the east side of the Graveraet School, was completed last year, with a unique finishing touch donated by former Marquette Area Public Schools Board of Education President Tony Retaskie. Retaskie donated the flag that was draped over his father’s coffin during his funeral ceremony to be hung by the fountain. Retaskie’s father was a war veteran. The flag is a bit different than students in the school are used to, with only 48 stars nestled in the corner, instead of the customary 50.

MAPS Superintendent Deb Veiht said she was happy to see the Graveraet School Fountain restored, and thanked Retaskie for his donation. “This was a community-driven project,” Veiht said. “It’s been a landmark for the natives of Marquette and they have a soft spot in their heart for it. By the investments that were made from the community, we’ve been able to restore it to its original glory.” The three-year long project cost a total of $164,277, with the vast majority of that cost provided through donations from the community. As of March 7, MAPS had collected $121,176 in donations, and had an additional $40,000 promised to the district. The difference of roughly $3,000 was

provided for by MAPS and was used to make necessary repairs to the sidewalk. Those repairs would have been done regardless of the whether or not the fountain project was completed. “It was very exciting to see (the project finished). We had staff working on it and community members and older folks strolling by thanked us for restoring something that was so close to their heart,” Veiht said. The Graveraet courtyard was first constructed in 1927, with the fountain put in place in 1980. Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-2282500, ext. 242. Her email address is jstark@miningjournal.net.

Has a new superintendent PAGE 6I

Vandenboom Child Development Center Receives accreditation in 2011 PAGE 7I


Progress 2012 SECTION I_Progress 2010 SECTION A 6/29/12 8:21 AM Page 2

2I -— The Mining Journal Monday, March 26

PROGRESS2012

Gwinn High School health clinic receives funding through 5-year renewable grant

Above, Tina Bambach, family medical nurse practitioner, examines a student at the Gwinn Adolescent Health Center in the Gwinn High School. (Journal photos by Matthew Keiser)

By JACKIE STARK Journal Staff Writer MARQUETTE — A new health clinic opened in Gwinn High School is helping serve a number of students and their families in the Gwinn area. The clinic is funded through a five-year renewable grant of $175,000 annually from the Michigan Department of Community Health. The grant can be used to purchase medical and office supplies and to pay staff. “It’s been a huge benefit to all of us,” said Gwinn Area Community Schools Superintendent Kim VanDrese. “We appreciate the health department keeping us in mind when it came to this grant.” Part of the grant is being used to pay two family nurse practitioners and a social work health educator. In addition to medical care, the health educator will play a teaching role in conjunction with the district's health classes. The FNPs, in turn, will work to further educate the Gwinn teaching staff. Students are allowed to use the clinic once be-

fore they are required to have parental permission to receive treatment. Marquette County Health Department Director Fred Benzie said a new clinic in Gwinn was an exciting opportunity. The MCHD partnered with GACS to open the clinic. "This begins a new chapter in public health for the Marquette County Health Department," Benzie said when the grant was received in May. "We feel we can have the biggest impact on our community's health by helping the students in the school." GACS was a good fit for the grant, according to Benzie, as many students in the district are limited in their access to consistent medical care, due to both monetary and geographic reasons. Basic clinic fees apply and insurance will be billed, if possible. But Benzie said the clinic will not turn any student away, regardless of their ability to pay. "Good health promotes good learning and good learning promotes success," he said. "That's the bottom line."

This begins a new chapter in public health for the Marquette County Health Department when the grant was received in May. We feel we can have the biggest impact on our community's health by helping the students in the school. - FRED BENZIE Marquette County Health Department Director

Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-2282500, ext. 242. Her email address is jstark@miningjournal.net.


Progress 2012 SECTION I_Progress 2010 SECTION A 6/29/12 8:21 AM Page 3

The Mining Journal, Monday, March 26 — 3I

PROGRESS2012

North Star Academy expanding

Above, a floor plan of the new North Star Academy classroom addition. (Floor plan provided by UPEA Engineers and Architects) Below, a image of the North Star Academy High School. (Journal file photo)

By JACKIE STARK Journal Staff Writer MARQUETTE — North Star Academy is continuing to fundraise for a new classroom, which is estimated cost about $93,000. The new 660 square foot classroom would sit between the two wings of the school and serve kindergarten through twelve grade students. North Star’s Chief Executive Officer Karen Anderson said the primary purpose of the classroom would be arts and culture. “We’re looking to being working with Native American programs next year. That would be nice to have,” Anderson said. “We still offer art at most of the levels. Having an art room that also serves as part of the Native American cultural programs, possibly some music, and centrally located between two wings seems like the ideal. “We don’t have any more room on our site,” she added. “It just happens to fit in the right spot to serve our needs.” If the school’s Board of

Education gives the goahead, construction will begin in June or July. The room will also function in other ways, as the number of eighth grade students will grow next year. “We’re growing at the middle school level,” Anderson said. “We have two seventh grades right now, and if those students stay on, we’ll need two eighth grades for next year. We’ll need the extra classroom. We’re already at capacity for the building.” Anderson said the addition of a new classroom would help the school integrate more Native American studies into the curriculum, something she said was valuable for North Star students to learn. “We have students from both tribes, the Sault (Ste. Marie tribe of Chippewa Indians) tribe and the Keweenaw (Bay Indian Community) tribe. It’s a big part of our culture,” she said. “Working with our region and the history of our area, it’s critical that we adequately cover the Native Amer-

ican aspect.” The new classroom would be similar in layout to other classrooms in the school, though it would have added cabinetry, storage space and larger sinks to accommodate for art projects. Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-2282500, ext. 242. Her email address is jstark@miningjournal.net.

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Progress 2012 SECTION I_Progress 2010 SECTION A 6/29/12 8:21 AM Page 4

4I — The Mining Journal, Monday, March 26

PROGRESS2012

Veiht appointed superintendent of Marquette Area Public Schools

Above left, Deborah Veiht, superintendant of MAPS is pictured. Above right, Veight gives a tour of the wing of Vandenboom that houses offices to members of both boards during a work session. (Journal file photos)

By JACKIE STARK Journal Staff Writer MARQUETTE — Marquette Area Public Schools saw a shift in leadership last May with newly appointed Superintendent Deb Veiht replacing former Superintendent Jon Hartwig after he retired. Veiht is no stranger to the district, with a number of years spent as a teacher and principal at thenVandenboom Elementary School and Sandy Knoll Elementary School. She has also served as the MAPS assistance superintendent for 10 years. Veiht served as the interim superintendent after Hartwig left, then officially took the position on after the board voted to hire her in May. “I couldn’t be more pleased,” Veiht said shortly after the decision to hire her was made. Veiht graduated from Marquette Senior High School and received both her undergraduate and masters degrees from Northern Michigan University. She is currently working on earning a doctorate from Western Michigan University. With almost a full year under her belt, Veiht said she is enjoying the challenges that come with the job of running one of the biggest school districts in the area. “Despite the hard economic times, I’m looking forward to doing things that are good for students,” she said. “And, of course, we’re always focused on them and their success.

“Our goal is that when a student leaves Marquette schools, they’ve had many experiences and they’re well-rounded individuals. That’s why we’re here.” Since May, Veiht has steered the district through cuts in state funding and a decision to move the district to fullday kindergarten. She also helped to formulate a bond proposal

that ultimately failed by a nearly 2 to 1 margin. However, Veiht said the administration is still looking a the possibility of constructing a new proposal for 2013 that would be more appealing to the public. Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-2282500, ext. 242. Her email address is jstark@miningjournal.net.

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The Mining Journal, Monday, March 26 — 5I

PROGRESS2012

Safe Routes to school keeping Ishpeming and Negaunee students safe

The Safe Routes to School project combines sidewalk repairs with the creation of new sidewalk, giving kids and area residents a way to safely walk from the south side of Ishpeming to the north side. Here Associated Constructors crews work to lay new sidewalk along the Birchview Elementary School. (Journal photo by Johanna Boyle)

By JOHANNA BOYLE Journal Ishpeming Bureau NEGAUNEE — Two west end school districts introduced their students to their new Safe Routes to Schools improvements through special Walk to School Days in 2011. Ishpeming’s Both Birchview Elementary School and Negaunee’s Lakeview Elementary School encouraged kids to walk to school, helping them learn to safely navigate the areas around their schools with the help of teachers, staff and community members. In October, both districts held walk to school days, focusing on the new Safe Routes to School routes that were completed last year. Around 40 Birchview students participated in the walk. “If they’re walking to school, they’re getting their exercise,” said Birchview Principal Brian Veale. That contributes to increased alertness and health during school, he added. In Negaunee, Lakeview Elementary School students walked to school with buses dropping students off a few blocks from the school building and teachers spread out along the route to help at road crossings. The entire student body of Lakeview participated, meaning over 700 students walked. “I would say (Safe Routes to School) has brought a lot more awareness to safety,” said Safe Routes to School Coordinator Diane Faust. Veale also said he noticed an increased number of bicycles being used at Birchview this year. The projects help make it safer for kids to walk to school by improving sidewalks and road crossings, and were funded by grants from the Michigan Depart-

ment of Transportation, with $174,263 for the Birchview project and $143,258 for the Lakeview project. “Everything’s going to be a little bit safer,” Veale said. “The highway is always a barrier.” With U.S. 41 cutting through both Ishpeming and Negaunee, kids have been discouraged from walking or riding their bikes to school. members Community have also been unable to easily walk to the area of town located on the opposite side of the highway, which includes recreation areas such as the cemetery and the Al Quaal Recreation Area in Ishpeming. The Ishpeming project runs from the entrance of the Ishpeming ball field complex on Second Street south of U.S. 41 north across the highway, then along Prairie Street and then to Poplar Street up to the Birchview School. In areas where sidewalks are already present, the project provided for spot repairs. In addition, the project extended the sidewalk from the Birchview School along Poplar Street near the tennis courts and the boarder of Al Quaal. On North Second Street, from the highway to the intersection with Prairie Street, the project also created a sidewalk. Where Second Street turns into Deer Lake Road, a crosswalk was also installed, providing a refuge island for pedestrians to be able to cross the street in that location as well. Two solar-powered speed signs will also be installed north and south of the crosswalk on Second Street to remind motorists how fast they are going and to slow down where pedestrians are present. Johanna Boyle can be reached at 906-4864401. Her email address is jboyle@miningjournal.net.


Progress 2012 SECTION I_Progress 2010 SECTION A 6/29/12 8:21 AM Page 6

6I — The Mining Journal, Monday, March 26

Gwinn Area Community Schools have a new leader

Former Gwinn Middle School Principal Kim VanDrese was chosen as Mike Maino’s successor. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)

By JACKIE STARK Journal Staff Writer MARQUETTE — Gwinn Area Community Schools began 2012 with a new leader, after long-time superintendent Mike Maino officially retired Dec. 31. Former Gwinn Middle School Principal Kim VanDrese was chosen as Maino’s successor, and spent the start of the 2012-2013 school year shadowing Maino, learning the ins and outs of the job. “It has given her just a little insight into the types of daily decisions that — once she starts to sit in this chair — she has to start making,” said Maino before he retired. VanDrese offficially began her duties as superintendent Jan. 1 and sat at a GACS board of education meeting as superintendent for the first time Jan. 15. She said she was excited to continue working on improving GACS for the better. “I’m excited about going forward. The board will be receiving my goals for the next three years tonight ... I know that I have big shoes to fill and with support from the staff I know we’ll be able to get the job done,” VanDrese said. “I’m looking forward to diving in with both feet and hopefully making changes for the better.” Some of those goals included increasing student achievement by 2015 by having all general education students who have been in the district for five consecutive years become proficient in reading and math on state assessments, improving the high school graduation rate by 3 percent by 2015, improving staff professional development and improving stakeholder engagement with the district by forming a Community Advisory Committee and a Student Advisory Committee by October. “I appreciate the confidence that the board has in me,” VanDrese said in a recent interview. “We have some huge issues that are coming up, certainly with the budget. With community support and the board’s support and staff support, I’m confident we’ll handle these things to the best of our

ability, always keeping the students in mind.” Jackie Stark can be

reached at 906-2282500, ext. 242. Her email address is jstark@miningjournal.net.

PROGRESS2012

Gwinn schools netbooks program a big success By JACKIE STARK Journal Staff Writer MARQUETTE — The Gwinn Area Community Schools district implemented a new program last year which provides district-issued netbooks to seventh and eighth grade students. “The teachers love them,” said GACS Superintendent Kim VanDrese. “As far as being able to put information in the students’ hands immediately, it has just been tremendous.” VanDrese said the program has been a success in not only upgrading the technology used in the district, but also providing students yet another handson way to learn skills they’ll need to have for the future. “To be able to put the technology in the hands of all our students, it has been just phenomenal for the staff,” VanDrese said. With the new netbooks, students have access to reading materials, comprehension materials and online textbooks that can also be accessed by the students on devises other

than their district-issued netbooks. The new netbooks have also allowed some teachers to move to a paperless classroom. An email address given to each student and faculty member also allows students to have 24/7 access to their teachers should they have any questions on homework assignments or other issues. And though the going was a little rough at first

with some of the computers, VanDrese said the students have really taken to the responsibility of properly caring for the netbooks. “We have found that the students have been more responsible with them,” she said. “In the beginning, they kind of seemed to have been a toy and we have seen that go by the wayside. They are using them more responsibly now.”

Pictured is the new netbook given to students in the Gwinn Area Community Schools district. (Photo courtesy of GACS)


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The Mining Journal, Monday, March 26 — 7I

PROGRESS2012

Vandenboom YMCA program receives accreditation

RIght, preschool teacher Heather Johnston chats with Elizabeth Chu, 4, while Ryan Smolinski, 3, plays with blocks at the YMCA Preschool. Ellarie Thierry, 3, takes a break from playing at the YMCA Preschool. (Journal file photos)

National Association for the Education of young Children By JACKIE STARK Journal Staff Writer MARQUETTE — The Marquette County YMCA’s early childhood facilities inside the Vandenboom Child Development and Activity Center received accreditation last year from the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The accreditation is highly prestigious and difficult to obtain. The Y’s program is the only early childhood education program to receive certification from the NAEYC in Marquette County, and only 4 percent of early childhood programs nationwide can boast the accreditation. “It’s a demonstration to everyone in the community, to our families, to our staff, that we are indeed providing the highest quality early childhood programming for the kids in our community,” said Child Development Leader Lori Smolinski. “There’s a great deal of research that shows that early childhood education sets the stage, sets the tone, for K-12. We are setting children up in the most developmentally appropriate way for success in school.”

The accreditation is good for five years, at which time the facility can file for a renewal. Earning a renewal of the NAEYC accreditation is a little easier than earning it outright for the first time, since paperwork and documentation is already on file that proves that the facility is in compliance with all 417 criteria needed to earn the coveted accreditation. “When we did the initial accreditation, it was a learning process for all of us,” Smolinski said. “We had to learn what the requirements were and we needed to implement those things because we weren’t doing all of them. “The standards are quite a bit higher than the standards of state licensing.” The facility is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Smolinski said she encouraged parents interested in registering their children to take a tour of the facility and see what they have to offer. Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-2282500, ext. 242. Her email address is jstark@miningjournal.net.

It’s a demonstration to everyone in the community, to our families, to our staff, that we are indeed providing the highest quality early childhood programming for the kids in our community. There’s a great deal of research that shows that early childhood education sets the stage, sets the tone, for K12. We are setting children up in the most developmentally appropriate way for success in school. - LORI SMOLINSKI Child Development Leader


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8I — The Mining Journal, Monday, March 26

PROGRESS2012

Special section/Progress-I  

Section I of The Mining Journal's annual Progress Edition.

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